Sunday, February 28, 2010

Will The Gay Community Ever Call Out The Religious Right On Their Lies?

By Alvin McEwen:

Recently, I posted two interviews with discredited researcher Paul Cameron conducted by Midweek Politics Radio.

The response to these posts have been, in my view, successful. Many people who weren't aware of Paul Cameron became educated on his lies about the gay community.

But then there was a segment who asked why was I giving Cameron attention. They claimed that any focus on Cameron validated him. They were under the impression that if Cameron was ignored, he would go away.

Unfortunately, this mindset also includes other lies told about the gay community by religious right groups. There seems to be this idea that when so-called traditional values groups tell outright fibs about gay lives, the way we have express our love, or our moral outlook, these claims should either be laughed at or ignored.

But what some in our community fail to understand is that the lies told about the gay community aren't going away and ignoring them doesn't diminish their power. These lies have the power to hurt the gay community if unaddressed.

A perfect example is a recent incident during a Minnesota legislative hearing on marriage equality:

Barb Davis White, a Tea Party activist and Republican candidate for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, prompted shocked gasps from the packed hearing room when she said, "Rosa Parks did not move to the front of the bus to support sodomy." Her testimony involved accusations that the movement for marriage equality is hijacking the civil rights movement.

"There is no difference between a black person and a white person other than their skin color when there's a tremendous difference between a man and a woman," said White, who was the GOP's endorsed candidate against Rep. Keith Ellison in 2008. "Allowing a black woman and a white man to marry does not change the definition of marriage. However, allowing two men or two women to marry would fundamentally change that definition."

White also garnered some laughs from the audience when she said, "Studies also show that the average homosexual has hundreds of sexual partners in his lifetime... and I repeat hundreds."

"I'm here today to tell you that homosexuality and lesbian behavior is unhealthy," claiming that gays and lesbians have higher rates of STDs than anyone else in the world, including "gay bowel disease," an ailment that does not exist and is often used by religious right figures to paint gay men as diseased.

The sad thing is not the fact that White actually believes this nonsense but her claims, in one form or another, are on a myriad of religious right web pages or have been repeated by their spokespeople as fact.

And the gay community and its leadership as a whole have yet to specifically address these lies with the expediency they deserve.

We as a community tend to forget that many people aren't as knowledgeable about us as they should be. Therefore they are susceptible to any group claiming to stand for "morality" or any speaker claiming to speak for "values, even if their definitions of "morality" and "values" involve unfairly painting the gay community as drooling sex-crazed miscreants from a movie co-directed by George Romero and David Cronenberg.

The question that needs to be asked is not whether gays are deserving of equality but why these so-called moral groups and spokespeople feel the need to deny us that equality through lies.

Gays aren't the ones creating phony medical terms designed to connote the worst images about sexual intercourse,

Gays aren't the ones manipulating the numbers of sexual partners,

and gays aren't the ones who have created a body of junk science based on the ravings of a man who couldn't be believed even if a vial of truth serum was pumped into his veins, i.e. Paul Cameron.

The culprits of these offenses are the so-called Christian groups such as the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and the Concerned Women for America. The only reason why they have gotten away with it is because the gay community hasn't demanded that they explain their distortions.

And I can't help but to wonder if we are ever going to.

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